Some deaths take                  the slow turn            in the light from dusk to night.

My father takes his               time                            is trying to befriend him.

When he goes                        with it                         he will go.

He will trust death                as a friend                 near the end of his life.

There were not many           late nights                  he did his drinking at home.

And worked one job             for 50 years                 he didn’t gamble or cheat.

Was home for dinner           every night                 he listened to us talk in silence.

Now death walks by             his side                        of the bed sinks, his body

Weighs the mattress            down                           the hall it breaks into a sprint.

I witness it encroach            step by step                he eases into lethargy.

Hair and skin looking so     thin                              was he always so thin?

A creaking sound walks       around the house     I hear the weight of delirium.

He can’t sleep with               the noise                     of him gasping echoes.

When he awakes                   he dreams                  his father yelling, Get Up.

Someone’s at the door         knocking.

Copyright © 2022 by Celeste Guzmán Mendoza. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on January 6, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.

I want a red dress. 
I want it flimsy and cheap, 
I want it too tight, I want to wear it 
until someone tears it off me. 
I want it sleeveless and backless, 
this dress, so no one has to guess 
what’s underneath. I want to walk down
the street past Thrifty’s and the hardware store 
with all those keys glittering in the window, 
past Mr. and Mrs. Wong selling day-old 
donuts in their café, past the Guerra brothers 
slinging pigs from the truck and onto the dolly, 
hoisting the slick snouts over their shoulders. 
I want to walk like I’m the only 
woman on earth and I can have my pick. 
I want that red dress bad.
I want it to confirm 
your worst fears about me, 
to show you how little I care about you 
or anything except what 
I want. When I find it, I’ll pull that garment 
from its hanger like I’m choosing a body 
to carry me into this world, through 
the birth-cries and the love-cries too, 
and I’ll wear it like bones, like skin, 
it’ll be the goddamned 
dress they bury me in.

From Tell Me by Kim Addonizio. Copyright © 2000 by Kim Addonizio. Reprinted by permission of BOA Editions, Ltd. All rights reserved.